Gaining popularity in today’s market, the design-build format creates a single entity led by the design-build contractor and the owner retains this administrative entity for a fee under a CCDC 14 contract. This method is often called an “open book” or “turn-key” approach, as it hands complete responsibility over to the single team who works on the owner’s behalf in an information sharing capacity to deliver the project.

Typically, an owner will first retain an “advocate architect” to create a set of specifications on what the owner believes should guide the project. This way the owner can outline the particular needs of the project in a general way (e.g. Energy efficiency requirements, visual appeal, tie in with neighbouring structures, etc.) but rely on the design-build team to implement those needs in their best design. Again, on-site activity can often be fast-tracked as the design evolves. Allowing for a competitive process however, requires that several complete teams create their own designs, meaning significant time and effort is expended before tender. As a result, many owners have opted to provide stipends to all participating teams in order to promote participation.


The Pros

  • Single point of responsibility clarifies lines of communication
  • Team environment throughout the entire process
  • Open book format allows for transparency

The Cons

  • Requires trust across all parties in a transparent environment
  • Owner must choose entire team at once